Making the Case for a Larger Marketing Team: LMA Members Weigh In

Do you ever feel like you’re doing the work of two (or more) people? Maybe it’s because you are! As you begin thinking about how to restructure your department, get some perspective from our peers at LMA! 

One of the first questions you encounter is, “What’s the average lawyer-to-marketer ratio?”

What follows is a breakdown of the responses received through LMA’s Solo/Small Team Shared Interest Group (SIG) and the LMA Official Member Group on Facebook.

A 2020 survey of 127 firms from North America and the UK found that the average ratio of law firm partners was 9:1 (UK-based firms reported a lower average ratio of 5:1 compared to firms in North America which showed a ratio of 12:1) (Source: Law Firm Marketing/BD Department Size Study 2020, Calibrate Legal).

Numbers are important, but it’s more important to make the case for your firm – what works for one firm may not work for another simply due to the nature of the practice or your firm’s culture. Of course, there are always outliers such as one high-profile plaintiffs’ firm with 15 lawyers and two dedicated marketing staff.

Even with the numbers on your side, getting your lawyers to move on them can be difficult. So, how else can you make the case for additional staffing? LMA members shared some of their success stories. One emerging theme was developing a gap analysis to help illustrate where you are right now vs where you would like to be.

Something else to consider is help from other departments. However, this can present its own challenges as marketers may only have limited access from colleagues only able to pitch in when they can. Still, even with a small team, there are times when marketing overtakes everything as one marketer emphasized, “I do have to be very vigilant about strategizing everything so I can work effectively and efficiently.”

Tracking time can also help improve your business case. It can be difficult to justify the addition of new marketing roles when they aren’t easily tracked by billable hours. Think about providing a list of all the things you’re working on and all the things you cannot get to on your own.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. As one marketer said, “It took two years of asking to get a part-time coordinator.”

Let us know what you think! Anything surprising? Let us know how your department is structured and how it works for you. 

Author

  • Sara Coffey manages marketing and user content at Cole Valley Software, Inc. makers of ContactEase CRM Made Easy and other supporting applications for law firms. She enjoys using her background in legal marketing to collaborate with colleagues and make the (professional) lives of ContactEase users a little easier. Sara is a longtime member of LMA and has served as co-chair of the Competitive/Market Intelligence SIG and as a member of the Talent Development Committee. A native West Virginian, she lives in Columbus, Ohio, and is the current co-chair of the Ohio Local Steering Committee.

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